At a meeting held in Wellington on Monday 1 February, New Zealanders expressed concern at the repression of free speech in Iran.These abuses have been going on for 30 years, you say? Since the 1979 revolution, then, when the US-backed Shah left and Ayatollah Khomeini came in to set up his charming theocracy.
The meeting, called by PEN NZ and the Mohsen Hachtroubi Foundation of Paris, discussed the imprisonment, torture, rape and execution of writers and others who have exercised their right to free speech.
PEN representative Nelson Wattie stressed that these violent and repressive acts affect human beings everywhere, and that New Zealand people must show solidarity by raising their voices to join the worldwide protest against the mistreatment of people who have committed no crime. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Iran and New Zealand are signatories, guarantees freedom of expression to all people.
Investigative journalist Nicky Hager outlined the history of these abuses, which have been going on for thirty years, and pointed out that the United States and its allies, including New Zealand, share responsibility for their support of the regime that commits the abuses.
So there were no abuses of human rights and free speech under the Shah, only since 1979 under the ayatollahs. And this is America’s fault, because America supports the current regime. And it’s our fault too, because we have so much influence in Teheran
This may come as news to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Barack Obama and John Key. It certainly comes as news to me.